“Peter Nivio Zarlenga on Wow!,” by Tom Asacker, A Clear Eye, 15 July 2005, http://www.acleareye.com/sandbox_wisdom/2005/07/i_ha.html (from Orbit Now!, also at New Persuasion).
Tom Asacker has an interesting blog post on brands and business which has obvious implications for the Global War on Terrorism.
“Like when I’m in the bathroom looking at my toilet paper, I’m like ‘Wow! That’s toilet paper?’ I don’t know if we appreciate how much we have.”
Wow I’m pretty sure that we don’t appreciate how much we have. And I’m certain that we’re not satisfied with it all. We want more, better, faster, cheaper, truer, funnier, groovier, kinder, prettier, wittier, livelier. Expectations are at an all-time high, and they’re headed nowhere but up!
Same for terrorism. 9/11 and the Beslan school massacre are now expected. Bus bombs are deadly, but we know what “terror” is. We expect that “terror.” Our hearts are becoming hard.
“A company’s advertising represents the best opportunity it has to portray its personality.”
After I cleared my throat and wiped my chin I began to consider those words – and my reaction to them – a little more critically. “Perhaps that’s right,” I thought. “Maybe we’ve reached a a point where the quality of the initial point of customer contact – be it an advertisement, sales presentation, webinar, direct mail piece, blog, concert hall, etc. – is the new competitive high bar? Maybe what we’re experiencing today is the shifting of Wow! emphasis from post-sale to pre-sale? From customers to prospects?”
How does this relate to terrorism? Does this mean that al Qaeda knows that it cannot post-sale “Wow” — that it can’t deliver “Wow” because of a terrorist attack. That it has to advertise the al Qaeda brand, and inspire terror and Wow before (or without) a terrorist attack?
The article continues:
Today, when prospects experience any form of marketing communication, they’re searching (albeit subconsciously) for two things: relevance and uniqueness. They’re unimpressed with “me too” offerings and they see right through the old school, mass marketing b.s. and bribes. Even “new” doesn’t mean jack to them. They’re “newed” out. So they tune-out most attempts to pull them in for a later Wow! Instead, they must be strategically Wowed!, starting with the very first impression.
How relevant are London bus bombs for non-Londoners? Not very. How relevant are the second London bus bombs? Only to the extent they have new WOW action — a suspect shot dead, a hospital surrounded, etc.
An (in)famous piece of software is Lotus 1-2-3 version 2.0. Lotus 1-2-3 was “Microsoft Excel” before there was a “Microsoft Excel.” And the second version, 2.0, wowed everyone. New features were very useful and worked great. It was like nothing else that most people had ever seen.
Lotus 1-2-3 2.0 almost killed the company.
Every version after it was “ho hum” compared to 1-2-3 2.0. People’s expectations of improvement were raised extremely high after version 2.0, and when Lotus 1-2-3 wasn’t able to turn water into wine again, customers were resistant to pay for a normal upgrade. After all, to them revolutionary changes were to be expected.
9/11 and Beslan may be the Lotus 1-2-3 2.0 of wow. They were so terrible that they are extremely hard to top. al Qaeda can do the same things bigger, or better, but bin Laden has to face the real possibility that more “relevant and unique” attack may be out of its grasp.
Through luck and pluck, Lotus survived its catastrophic success of 1-2-3 2.0. With luck and pluck, al Qaeda may the catastrophic successes of 9/11 and Beslan.